Chocolate frogs and teddy bear elastoplast

So the lurgey saga continues………..

I returned home late on Tuesday evening, after two short return flights and time for a glorious foot massage in transit in Bangkok Airport. My baggage was heavy: one full bag of eleven days worth of dirty laundry; extra papers, booklets and resources from the packed days of work; bulky folded flip charts with gold dust in the form of ideas and plans for our work across the region; and crammed in the final little corners of the travel bags – pills and potions to help to banish the nasty bronchial illness which was continuing to drag me down.

I knew I just had to get through two more intense days, then I could take a day’s rest before the weekend. However, despite the meds which had been prescribed in Vientiane, and because of the self-same meds which can reduce the effectiveness of my blood thinning meds, I made an appointment to see my Doctor here in Yangon. Mainly for a blood check, as curdled blood would not be fun, but also for reassurance and any refinement of treatment because of the continuing cough and depth of exhaustion.  Captain Paranoia was clearly in the shadows, just at the edge of my line of vision but very much in my mind as he slithered around.

I had little need to explain myself when I saw Dr Y2.  He had heard my cough from the waiting room, seen my drawn and tired face (his words, not mine) and we went through details of the span of this particular bout.  I had been on antibiotics only a couple of weeks previously, so it concerned him that I was so soon felled by another bout.  Almost immediately, he announced that he would run a chest x-ray. And that was the cue for Captain Paranoia to leap into view, sticking his ugly face into mine and sneering “I told you so!”

I was escorted down to the x-ray department, trying to calm my mind with not an ounce of success. All I could think of was imminent bad news, changing plans and life taking that turn again. I held tightly onto my thoughts, trying to keep them in the present as they tried to move into scenarios where the x-ray highlighted something much more sinister than bronchitis.

Things happen quickly here, fortunately, and there is little time to descend too far or for Captain P to get the firm grip he is seeking.  I was ushered into the x-ray suite, the film in an envelope and back in the surgery in no time with Dr Y2 poring over the film. He had even made me a cup of tea, which I was sipping as my blood draw was taken. He was pointing out an area which showed clear bronchitis.  There was no mention of any nasty surprises.  Only the lurgey.  Captain Paranoia was slipping out of the clinic, into the waiting lift and out of sight for the time being.

I was soon back in the consulting room, and Dr Y2 writing out a new prescription to banish this stubborn bronchitis.  Along with a sick leave certificate, which I tried to resist initially.  He was concerned over my level of exhaustion and insisted that I take a few days of real lying-in-bed-and-not-even-getting-dressed rest.  I cancelled the commitments I had and headed home.

And it was when I was at home, I noticed that the sticking plaster over my blood draw was covered in teddy bears!

Teddy bear elastoplast

Teddy bear Elastoplast

And that says it all really.  It tells me that I am looked after with the utmost clinical and medical professionalism, and wrapped in care and respect.  The staff know how I hate the blood draws, and Dr Y2 knows how my mind veers off into scary places – so I get a cup of tea and teddy bear Elastoplast.  And this is not new.  Dr Y1 used to dispense a chocolate frog every time she saw me.  I know those are reserved for children and especially children who are have painful or uncomfortable procedures.  But she used to tell me with a conspiratorial whisper that oncology patients also have rights to chocolate frogs!

Chocolate frogs!

Chocolate frogs!

I know that I have had and still have difficult challenges to contend with, but I also know that I am extremely well cared for in every sense. 

And I have the teddy bear Elastoplast to prove it!

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Keeping the conversation going

When I bent down to pick up the gauntlet which Marie had sent in my direction late on Wednesday evening, I had no idea that the resultant post and re-post would attract nearly so much attention.  Being part of the challenge brought a real sense of kinship.  What particularly astonished me was the strength and immediacy with which a host of posts appeared around mental health in connection with a cancer diagnosis.  And the message came across loud and clear!  Once cancer is introduced to our mind, it plays havoc with it. Yet, we feel that we should hide these troubles, such is the stigma of mental ill health.  Judging by the speed at which posts and re-posts appeared, this was not a new unfamiliar topic, but something very much at the forefront of our cancer experience.  And particularly at the forefront of our continued cancer experience long beyond diagnosis.

I was particularly surprised, that when I re-posted my earlier discussion about Captain Paranoia, to see that it generated even more comments than the original.  In fact there were almost double the number of comments.  This is clearly a discussion which must be kept alive and kicking.

So here I am with a short sequel, keeping the conversation going, and adding in a couple of extra spoonfuls of pepper to the mix.  Firstly, I am posting a marvellous poem from Sarah of Breast Cancer Lottery which she wrote in response to the post about Captain P.

Mr Paranoia

Hello Mr P so we meet again,
I hear the seconds ticking I must be insane,
Midnight as come calling and I am awake,
How much more Mr P must I take,
You shed doubt in a tired mind,
My reasoning you will grind,
I know my doubts will be nothing,
Mr P why are you bothering?
I hate your whispers of doubt,
If you were a person I’d knock you out,
The damage you do with your negativity,
Can even stump my creativity,
Why Mr P? Why are you here?
Why do you create so much fear?
I want to sleep move forward from this pain,
But instead I’m sat awake again and again,
Dawns chorus has begun,
Mr P look what you have done,
At least the birds are happy,
Now I will be left feeling crappy.

And secondly, I am sharing for a second time, the post I wrote earlier about Capt P and his relationship with Dr Google.

A sinister business partnership?  Or a conspiracy?

As I settle back into the swing of things, I know that not far on the horizon is my next round of checks.  For now though, I am still in an upbeat frame of mind following my break and the appointments are far enough ahead not to feel imminent.  So that means that Captain Paranoia is also on a bit of a break.  Although he may not be lurking on my shoulder at the moment, I know he is causing his mischief in many other lives.

With this slight distance I am feeling more rational than can happen at other times regarding the future.  A clear indicator is a glimpse at my web browsing history.  It is immediately obvious that I have not consulted Dr Google for a while.  In fact, not since Dr W laughed at the wirple, back in early July.

This is when I spot a rather interesting connection.  There appears to be some kind of business relationship between Dr Google and Captain P.  A rather sinister one at that.  And they both appear to benefit and feed on each other in this arrangement.

Does it sound familiar?  At the first sign of an ache or pain, appearance of a strange shape or bumpy area, development of a rash or spot, Capt P appears and starts whispering (or shouting) that Houston, we have a problem.  And what do we do?  Too often we run straight to Dr Google who is waiting, grinning malevolently in his 24/7 online consulting room with far too much information, much of it ill organised and not necessarily current.  He overwhelms us with graphic images and what appears to be terrifying confirmation of our worst fears.  Our minds freeze with another round of fears and worries.

We eventually log off.  Sleep is elusive, as the information from Dr Google churns around in our minds.  Capt P takes over another shift and cranks up his efforts to maintain a wearing and ongoing onslaught on our thoughts.

In this welcome space of clarity which I find myself in just now, it is abundantly clear that if Dr Google’s online Diagnostic Service was unavailable, then Capt P would not have such a great hold over us.  Similarly, if Capt P could be kept at bay, we would not be so compelled to consult Dr Google.  The challenge is then how to try and break this cast iron partnership and weaken the power which they wield over us.

In my view, having this knowledge is in itself power.

This week’s Twitter discussion focused on Post Treatment depression and there was a very lively and open sharing of the emotional fragility we have following a cancer diagnosis.  My own view is that while depression is very much a reality for many people post diagnosis, I feel that one thing we all have in common is what I would call a post diagnosis “frame of mind”.  This reflects the fact that we live life differently after diagnosis and we are generally very vulnerable to fear and anxiety.  We are far more prone to worry about our future.  The checks and regular monitoring are massively reassuring – but only if they show nothing worrisome.

This frame of mind is a fertile ground for the sinister partnership of Dr G and the Captain.

We do have tools at our disposal to stand up to the evil duo however.  In particular, we have each other in the online breast cancer community.  We understand each other and respect the harrowing worries that we encounter.  Many a time have I had my hand held across the divide.  We also have a number of reliable sources of internet information and we should ensure that we do not consult Dr Google indiscriminately.  We should turn up at the virtual waiting rooms where we know our consultation will be fair and credible, such as the Breast Cancer sites and not that terrifying Google images search engine!

So what do we have then?  We have an evil duo who are in all likelihood working in cahoots – Dr Google and Captain Paranoia.  They are supported by an arsenal of information and detail which we cannot begin to interpret without a very smart medical head.  To counteract this we have a wide reaching and sensitive community who “get it”, and understand our fears and anxieties.  We also have our “real life” Doctors – our oncologists and our surgeons for example.  They not only know their stuff, they know us, and mostly can guide us through the minefield of distressing and baffling details dropped in front of us.  We usually only see them at our checks and they are subjected to the collection of questions which we have been saving up in anticipation of our reunion with them.  Often we are waylaid by unexpected blood results of other questions and realise in the days following our appointment that we still have unanswered questions.  And Capt P just loves to latch on to these questions and twist them around in our minds.  He refers us directly to Dr Google……..

We need to try and break this cycle, fed by the Capt P and Dr G alliance.  I know that is far easier said than done.  Dr Google is far too accessible and Capt P ensures that his visitations are as distant as possible from our real life support.  We must therefore make a concerted effort to resist Dr Google.  Capt P will then be weakened in his efforts to derail our thinking.  We have helpful guidelines, such as the 2 week rule (if a pain, ache or suspicious bump lasts for 2 weeks it needs to be taken to a Doctor).  We have our online support.  Oh, did I already mention that?  I guess that out of the sinister partnership, Capt P could possibly be credited with having a modicum of use.  He keeps us alert.  It is critical for us to be aware of our bodies and any changes that could be significant.  But to go any further than that sees him as a trouble maker who needs to be kept in his place.

I hope that this exposure of this intimidating duo can prompt us to do one thing.  To enable us to take firm control of our situations and enable us to strike a balance of being vigilant, sensitive and proactive without being obsessive.

Knowledge is indeed power.  So listen here Dr Google and Captain P – you guys are  RUMBLED!!!

* * * * *

 

We must keep this conversation going…….

Blogging for Mental Health

It is rather late here in Yangon on a Wednesday evening. I am sitting under the fan, the air damp and humid as I am catching up with the rest of the world online.

I pour yet another glass of chilled water from the fridge, squeeze a sliver of lime into it, as I have done since chemo distorted my tastebuds and I found this was the only way I could suffer the dishwater taste. It is a habit I have kept up since then.

I check the twitter feed just one last time before sleeping, and see that there is an “interaction”. Always curious, I click on the icon and see a tweet from Marie of Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer.

Will you join me for #mhblogday?

She asks?

I follow the link and find out about the “Blogging for Mental Health” Challenge.

It may be late here, but this is something I have a view and feelings on. I especially have a view because I believe that there is so much focus on the physical side when we have a cancer diagnosis. Everyone knows that the disease is dangerous, and that the treatments cause all manner of difficult side effects. Everyone expects someone with cancer to look ill and haggard. But the emotional and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis hits us with the force of a physical blow. We all remember the moment we heard the life changing words. We are caught up in a whirlwind which sweeps us up and we hurtle through treatment. But alongside the physical demands of trying to banish the cancer invader, there is a more sinister and pernicious effect which I have found grows and thrives in the troubled mind that a cancer diagnosis brings.

As the hour is late and the connection painfully slow, I prefer to paste below an earlier discussion about Captain Paranoia. (The links are not working tonight, I can always edit later…) This post sets out the troubled frame of mind which cancer has brought me, and the challenge to emotional and mental well being.

The tone of my post may be light, but the topic itself is not. My fears are real and all I ask is that they are respected and validated.

Thank you, Marie, for prompting late evening thoughts and for highlighting the serious question of mental health.

Captain Paranoia (posted June 2011)

He’s back! I woke up in the night this week and there he was, on my pillow, sitting cross-legged, feeding snippets of paranoia into my mind through my ears!
I felt my stomach clenching, as the fears rose to the surface. I am always quick to feed a worry and Captain P knows this. He was in his element, planting a snippet of suspicion in my mind and watching it gather speed and make me jump.

I overdid the treadmill in the gym a little the other day and have a pain in my heel. I also bumped my shoulder against a van’s wing mirror a few days earlier and have a tender spot on my shoulder. Add to that the combination of dark, scary, night time hours and voila – there is Capt P whispering “bone mets” in my ear.

I know that this is his peak season. I am only 2 weeks away from the next round of checks so this is the most difficult time mentally. I have already heard those “you have cancer” words once. I know it can happen and I know I am at risk.

So who is this Capt Paranoia who is part of this post diagnosis life? Does he warrant a whole posting devoted to him? Yes, I believe he does, so that we can combine forces to send him packing when he tries to come visiting.

I am not able to take the credit for creating Capt Paranoia. I borrowed him from a friend, and have seen him discussed on some of the discussion pages of Breast Cancer Care. I have developed him in my mind though, into a kind of anti-hero. In my mind. he has appalling dress sense, with an orange polyester sweatshirt with “The Captain” on its chest, and bright blue leggings and matching cloak, both of which clash terribly with his sweat shirt. And of course, he has the obligatory underwear over his leggings and his untidy hair smoothed back with Bryl Cream. Not the kind of guy you really want to find sitting on your pillow!

This personification (as insulting as possible) helps me to compartmentalise the fear and try and put it in its place. In a corner. Preferably the “Naughty Corner”
I have been developing ways of minimising Captain Paranoia’s activities. My favourite is to play memory games in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep and worry comes my way. Perhaps they are senility games. I save up little puzzles, especially little exercises of trying to remember certain things from my past which I can’t quite bring to mind. For example, the surname of a colleague from 20 years ago, the name of the band who sang a particular song in the 70s, features of a town I have visited many years ago……… I love this kind of puzzles and they are not new to me. When I find that some detail is evading me, I love to ponder and puzzle over it until finally I retrieve it from the very dusty shelves in my memory bank. Occasionally a detail may elude me for weeks, as was the case a couple of years ago. I had been trying to remember the surname of a colleague I had worked with in the 80s and search as I might I just could not remember it. Incredibly, when I was back in Scotland several weeks later, I bumped into him in Glasgow’s very busy Queen Street Station on the only day that I passed through Glasgow! Happily I was able to solve that puzzle with his assistance because I have a feeling that it was not going to come back to me ever without some help. I recently had another puzzle which kept me going for ages. There was a tune which I just could not identify, and try as I might to hum it and retrieve the lyrics for a clue, I could not get more than a few disjointed and unclear words. This one lasted for months and was finally solved when I was last in Thailand. I don’t have a mobile phone here, but I do in Thailand and when trying to change the ring tone, I suddenly realised that the evasive tune was the ring tone on my previous phone! No wonder I could not find the lyrics.

Happily when you get to my age, there are plenty of little details like this that you can’t quite retrieve. So there is plenty of material for me to use in the dark hours when Capt Paranoia is trying to elbow his way into my head. That is why I was lying awake in the early hours this morning, mumbling tunelessly that old number “tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree”, amazed that I seemed to remember all the lyrics (a dangerous confession I know) and trying to remember who on earth sang it! It defeated Captain P and I eventually dozed off again with the lyrics going round and round in my head, trying to pin down the name of the band which was responsible for making it so popular so many years ago.

I have realised that this is a good strategy which I can use against Capt P from now on. I will make sure I have a stock of these puzzles. Luckily that is not a problem thanks to chemobrain’s support in fuddling the memory chips. And I will make a conscious effort to search and solve these in a way of distracting my mind from the mean stuff that he is providing. This is a tactic which I think will help in what is going to be a long relationship and tussle between myself and Capt P. I know that this will be a protracted connection thanks to this ever present fear that the cancer beast will launch a comeback. I also know that it won’t always work.

This is not the same as denial, and vigilance is critical. I know that I have to remain proactive and seriously check anything which is worrying as opposed to worrying about something which is easily explainable, or quickly disappears.

The thing is though, I have to be right EVERY time. Capt Paranoia only needs to be right once. And that is his trump card. That is why he is able to keep reasserting his presence on my pillow.

On the positive side? Going over and over “Tie a yellow ribbon” in my head kept producing a cryptic repetition of “Dawn”. Unconvinced, I googled the song in the light of day and guess what? (I am sure you know this already). We have to thank Tony Orlando and Dawn for bringing us this classic. Now while I am sorry that Tony was far from surfacing in my mind, I was quite delighted that Dawn made itself appear in my mind before the dawn itself did. Now is that a victory against senility, memory loss and Captain Paranoia? I think it just might be!

Accompanying baggage, starfish and secret wish lists

In the first two months of the year I have had an exorbitant amount of travel.  Which I love, if I am honest.  Even if it is draining physically, I find it energising (how illogical is that?!) and fills me with motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration. I get a real kick from visiting new places, soaking in the surroundings and exploring.

But even although I have been travelling on my own, I have not been alone.  I have been accompanied by an unwelcome presence. He has not been there constantly, but I keep catching him feeding me unwelcome snippets of information.  It is that wretched Captain Paranoia.  He has been intruding on my travels as I skip from city to city, airport to airport and street to street. He is lingering just behind me, as I explore and I sense his presence around me.  He is waiting for me when I get home too, smugly making himself comfortable, oblivious to how unwelcome he is.  Or perhaps that is part of his strategy?  He has been particularly disturbing my sleep.

It should be no surprise that he is around.  In just over a week, I have my next round of checks.  This time there will be a six month, rather than a three month interval between checks and it is causing added anxiety.  After all, quite a lot can develop in six months.  Captain P takes particular delight in reminding me of this.  I know I will need to ask Dr W about the pains I had back in December and as always I have convinced myself this will need some investigation.  The prospect of the blood tests and what the tumour markers might reveal also plays on my mind considerably.  This time I will see four doctors rather than three, as I have an annual post radiation check up with Dr C.  And four is an inauspicious number.  Plenty to feed an anxious mind.

i slept particularly badly on Thursday night. I would doze off for a while and then wake, looking at my watch, to find out only 14 minutes had passed since i had last checked the time.  i would toss and turn.  i would curl up under the sheet as it was getting cool, only to throw the cover away a short time later as I was too hot.  Knowing I would get up at around 5.30 am, my subconscious would prevent me from sleeping soundly.  But at some point I must have dozed off as I found myself paddling in a crystal clear sea.  The water was warm, and the water pristine.  The sunlight was dancing through the rippling waves and picking up the tropical marine life as if in a microscope.  I had a sense of awe and wonder as I picked my way over the white sands underfoot and felt a flush of delight as I spotted a starfish.  I have always wanted to see a starfish in the sea. As I looked more closely, I saw another one, beside some colourful coral.  And then another one.  This was too special to miss and with the water being so clear I paddled gently towards the shore so that I could get my camera and capture these amazing images.  And then I woke up!  But the glorious images and the accompanying emotion stayed with me through the day.  I could see the starfish every time I closed my eyes.  I could even re-call it when my eyes were open, if I am honest!

As I luxuriated in this self-made entertainment package, I realised that seeing a starfish in the sea is something I should put on my secret list.  My secret list is a kind of “things I would love to do or see and if I don’t make an effort I will find out one day I am too old or ill to do them”.  A wish list really.  This is secret wish list, with some pretty weird stuff on it.  Remember, it’s a secret…….

  • Meet a blogging friend in a new place (repeat as often as possible)
  • Buy a picture/piece of artwork at a gallery opening and watch them put the red sticker on it.
  • Book into the Oriental Bangkok for a weekend.  Or maybe a night.  Or maybe just have afternoon tea there given the price!
  • See a kangaroo in the wild.
  • Visit a country with the letter ‘Z’ in it.
  • See the Aurora Borealis (northern lights)
  • Get funky, colourful nail art on my finger and toenails just for fun, just for once.
  • See the rings on Saturn through an astronomy telescope
  • See some of my writing in print.  In a book with real pages!

And now I have added

  • See a starfish in the sea

I remember lying in my hospital bed after my mastectomy.  My head was trying to absorb the horror of the previous days.  I was trying to come to terms with the reality that my left breast had been growing cancer, and that it had been removed along with the 2 tumours it had been hosting.  Desperately trying to get to grips with the reality of a cancer diagnosis, I tried to escape by watching the TV in my room.  This was foiled by the Movie channel playing one film on a loop.  Can you believe they were playing “The Bucket List”?!  Over and over, again and again, and no matter what time I switched on, there it was, goading and taunting me in my immediate freshly diagnosed cancer mindset. I really want to differentiate between this secret wish list, and a bucket list.  In Scotland a bucket is another word for the bin, or trash, or garbage (depends where you come from).  I am thinking of another list which would be of things I do not want to waste good time doing and that would be my bucket list.  My “chuck it in the bucket list”.  It would probably have things like filing bank statements and tidying that box of old papers in the spare room.  But that is for another day.  For today, and the coming days I will focus on my secret wish list and re-live seeing those starfish and trust that it will keep Captain Paranoia at bay.

Captain Paranoia

He’s back!  I woke up in the night this week and there he was, on my pillow, sitting cross-legged, feeding snippets of paranoia into my mind through my ears!

I felt my stomach clenching, as the fears rose to the surface.  I am always quick to feed a worry and Captain P knows this.  He was in his element, planting a snippet of suspicion in my mind and watching it gather speed and make me jump.

I overdid the treadmill in the gym a little the other day and have a pain in my heel.  I also bumped my shoulder against a van’s wing mirror a few days earlier and have a tender spot on my shoulder.  Add to that the combination of dark, scary, night time hours and voila – there is Capt P whispering “bone mets” in my ear.

I know that this is his peak season.  I am only 2 weeks away from the next round of checks so this is the most difficult time mentally.   I have already heard those “you have cancer” words once.  I know it can happen and I know I am at risk.

So who is this Capt Paranoia who is part of this post diagnosis life?  Does he warrant a whole posting devoted to him?  Yes, I believe he does, so that we can combine forces to send him packing when he tries to come visiting.

I am not able to take the credit for creating Capt Paranoia.  I borrowed him from a friend, and have seen him discussed on some of the discussion pages of Breast Cancer Care.  I have developed him in my mind though, into a kind of anti-hero.  In my mind. he has appalling dress sense, with an orange polyester sweatshirt with “The Captain” on its chest, and bright blue leggings and matching cloak, both of which clash terribly with his sweat shirt.  And of course, he has the obligatory underwear over his leggings and his untidy hair smoothed back with Bryl Cream.  Not the kind of guy you really want to find sitting on your pillow!

This personification (as insulting as possible) helps me to compartmentalise the fear and try and put it in its place.  In a corner.  Preferably the “Naughty Corner”

I have been developing ways of minimising Captain Paranoia’s activities.  My favourite is to play memory games in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep and worry comes my way.  Perhaps they are senility games.  I save up little puzzles, especially little exercises of trying to remember certain things from my past which I can’t quite bring to mind.  For example, the surname of a colleague from 20 years ago, the name of the band who sang a particular song in the 70s, features of a town I have visited many years ago………  I love this kind of puzzles and they are not new to me.  When I find that some detail is evading me, I love to ponder and puzzle over it until finally I retrieve it from the very dusty shelves in my memory bank.  Occasionally a detail may elude me for weeks, as was the case a couple of years ago.  I had been trying to remember the surname of a colleague I had worked with in the 80s and search as I might I just could not remember it.  Incredibly, when I was back in Scotland several weeks later, I bumped into him in Glasgow’s very busy Queen Street Station on the only day that I passed through Glasgow!  Happily I was able to solve that puzzle with his assistance because I have a feeling that it was not going to come back to me ever without some help.  I recently had another puzzle which kept me going for ages.  There was a tune which I just could not identify, and try as I might to hum it and retrieve the lyrics for a clue, I could not get more than a few disjointed and unclear words.  This one lasted for months and was finally solved when I was last in Thailand.  I don’t have a mobile phone here, but I do in Thailand and when trying to change the ring tone, I suddenly realised that the evasive tune was the ring tone on my previous phone!  No wonder I could not find the lyrics.

Happily when you get to my age, there are plenty of little details like this that you can’t quite retrieve.  So there is plenty of material for me to use in the dark hours when Capt Paranoia is trying to elbow his way into my head.  That is why I was lying awake in the early hours this morning, mumbling tunelessly that old number “tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree”, amazed that I seemed to remember all the lyrics (a dangerous confession I know) and trying to remember who on earth sang it!  It defeated Captain P and I eventually dozed off again with the lyrics going round and round in my head, trying to pin down the name of the band which was responsible for making it so popular so many years ago.

I have realised that this is a good strategy which I can use against Capt P from now on.  I will make sure I have a stock of these puzzles.  Luckily that is not a problem thanks to chemobrain’s support in fuddling the memory chips.  And I will make a conscious effort to search and solve these in a way of distracting my mind from the mean stuff that he is providing.  This is a tactic which I think will help in what is going to be a long relationship and tussle between myself and Capt P. I know that this will be a protracted connection thanks to this ever present fear that the cancer beast will launch a comeback.  I also know that it won’t always work.

This is not the same as denial, and vigilance is critical.  I know that I have to remain proactive and seriously check anything which is worrying as opposed to worrying about something which is easily explainable, or quickly disappears.

The thing is though, I have to be right EVERY time.  Capt Paranoia only needs to be right once. And that is his trump card.  That is why he is able to keep reasserting his presence on my pillow.

On the positive side?  Going over and over “Tie a yellow ribbon” in my head kept producing a cryptic repetition of “Dawn”.  Unconvinced, I googled the song in the light of day and guess what?  (I am sure you know this already).  We have to thank Tony Orlando and Dawn for bringing us this classic.  Now while I am sorry that Tony was far from surfacing in my mind, I was quite delighted that Dawn made itself appear in my mind before the dawn itself did.  Now is that a victory against senility, memory loss and Captain Paranoia?  I think it just might be!